Freelance writers work for a variety of clients to produce editorial, advertising, marketing, and other written materials. As independent contractors, freelancers typically work from a home office, but they may also work from libraries, coffee shops, or other spaces. Because their clients vary, freelance writers work for a variety of supervisors, most often for editors. They typically work alone, but may occasionally coordinate with photographers, art or graphic designers, and fellow writers, among others.
Freelancers need to have strong drive, as they often must find their own assignments. Much of a freelancer's time may be spent pitching stories to publications on spec (proposing a story idea that the publication that can then assign and buy). Freelance writers can also seek work through third-party vendors, which provide assignments for the writer, but often pay at a lower rate.
No specific education is needed for freelance writing positions, but prior experience is almost always required, especially for larger organizations and publications. Freelance writers often have at least a bachelor's degree in English, journalism, communications, or a related field. Freelance writers need to have solid organization and time management skills; they often have the freedom to set their own schedule and hours, but may need to work on multiple assignments simultaneously. They also need to keep careful records of their work for fact-checking purposes, to ensure proper and timely payment, and to file tax returns.
Freelance Writer Tasks
- Write books, websites, manuals, brochures or scripts, conducting research and working with editors.
- Promote and distribute written documents.
- Conceptualize novels, books, stories, brochures, manuals, or television shows and create pitches or letters to market them.